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Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone & Rocky Mountains Self-drive Tour

18-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,625 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Explore the dramatic landscapes, history and wildlife of the Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain and Grand Teton National Parks

Highlights

  • See some of America’s most impressive national parks including the site of over half the world’s geyser’s – Yellowstone
  • Explore at your own pace as you drive past the mountains of Grand Teton and the forests of Utah
  • Jagged peaks give way to forests and meadows that provide sanctuary to black bears, elk and bison in the Rocky Mountain National Park

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Denver
  • 1 Night Cheyenne
  • 3 Nights Black Hills
  • 1 Night Buffalo
  • 3 Nights Yellowstone National Park
  • 2 Nights Grand Teton National Park
  • 1 Night Rock Springs
  • 1 Night Steamboat Springs
  • 2 Nights Rocky Mountain National Park

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | History & culture | Lodges | Mountains | Natural world | Self-drive | Wildlife

Beginning in Denver, this epic road trip winds its way northwest, via the prairies and granite peaks of the Custer State National Park to Yellowstone's volcanic icons. Home to around half the world's geysers – including that ultimate crowd-pleaser, Old Faithful – it's a state-border-spanning region of hot springs, mud baths and colourful terraces of effervescent pools. The wildlife, too, is rich and varied, with packs of wolves roaming the plains and moose, elk, bison and buffalo all easily spotted from roads and hiking trails. Explore its unique beauty before moving on to Grand Teton's towering peaks and sparkling blue lakes, ending in the Rocky Mountain National Park, where snow-capped mountains give way to forests and meadows that provide sanctuary to everything from black bears and coyotes to elusive mountain lions.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-2
London – Denver

Depart London and arrive in Denver, state capital of Colorado, where you'll collect your hire car and make your way to your downtown hotel for your stay.

Denver began life as a gold-rush town as far back as 1858 where gunslingers, gamblers, gold miners, cattlemen and of course the town sheriff made this corner of Colorado the epitome of the American wild west. Now it's a bustling ultra-modern metropolis with first-class shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums where you can learn all about the fascinating history of this wonderful city. Spend two days exploring this exciting city and its surrounding region including nearby Colorado Springs and Pike's Peak, just 70 miles from the city.

Stay: The Curtis, Denver (Superior)

Day 3
Cheyenne

Depart from Denver and make your way to Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, breaking up your drive to South Dakota. If you journey here in July, be sure to check out the Frontier Days festival – over 40 years old  where you can enjoy some of Wyoming's best local cuisine at the food stalls put on by the city's enthusiastic residents.

Stay: Warren Nagle Mansion

Days 4-6
Custer State National Park/Black Hills – South Dakota

Head to South Dakota's Custer State National Park and Black Hills, a region of swaying prairie grasses, forested hillsides and roaming herds of bison and elk. Custer State National Park is packed full of spectacular granite peak along with the 19th century legend of Custer's Last Stand. You can also visit Wind Cave National Park – an underground cave network which, at 140 miles of explored length, is the fifth longest in the world. Spend your last day in the exploring the fossil-rich Badlands National Park, home to 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires, interspersed with mixed-grass prairie home to roaming wildlife. The 31.5-mile Badlands Loop National Scenic Byway offers 14 designated overlooks from where you can enjoy the dramatic landforms.

Stay: Baymont Suites Keystone

Day 7
Buffalo

With more than a dozen historic buildings lining its main street, Buffalo, Wyoming offers fascinating frontier heritage along with spectacular scenery. Nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, a sister range to the Rockies, it is half way between Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. Bighorn National Forest provides a diverse landscape that includes lush greenlands and glacier-carved valleys.

Drive the Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway for the best view of the Bighorn Mountains and Cloud Peak Wilderness. Not far from Buffalo is the area known as Hole in the Wall, the famous hideout of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and other members of the notorious "Wild Bunch." Tours from the Hole in the Wall Ranch allow you to relax and cool your feet in the same meadows and streams that Butch and co found so inviting after days on the run.

Stay: Ranch at Ucross, Wyoming (Standard)

Meals: B D

Days 8-10
Yellowstone National Park

With over 10,000 hydrothermal features, stunning and varied landscapes and a rich diversity of wildlife, it's hard to find enough superlatives to describe Yellowstone National Park. You'll have two days here to explore some of this enormous park and while in real terms you're only going to scratch the surface of what's on offer here, your stay will certainly give you a flavour of what is undoubtedly one of America's finest natural wonders.

Visit Madison Natural Area where you'll find bubbling geothermal pools, bubbling through the earth's surface in a multitude of colours. Visit Old Faithful and its surrounding area, home to an incredible 60 percent of the world's geysers and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Yellowstone River Grand Canyon – a 1,200-foot deep, 20-mile-long canyon with a series of spectacular waterfalls and head to the Lake Area, home to Yellowstone Lake – the largest high-elevation lake in North America at some 7,500 feet above sea level.

Stay: Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Yellowstone, Wyoming (Superior)

Days 11-12
Grand Teton National Park

The Tetons, a spectacular 40-mile long mountain range that rises straight out of the surrounding plains, boasts twelve peaks over 12,000 feet and provide an impressive backdrop to this beautiful lake-filled national park.

You'll have two days to explore the region's beautiful lakes and mountains along a series of scenic drives including the Teton Park Road that follows the base of the mountain range from Moose to Jackson lake Junction; Jenny Lake scenic drive that skirts the shores of the clear blue waters of Jenny lake; and Signal Mountain summit road that affords a spectacular panoramic view of the region.

Stay: Teton Mountain Lodge, Wyoming (Superior)

Day 13
Rock Springs/Flaming Gorge National Monument

The building of Flaming Gorge Dam in 1962 added to the already dramatic grandeur of the steep-walled Red Canyon in which it sits. More than 200,000 acres of protected land now surround the 91 mile Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which boasts more than 350 miles of shoreline. Utah's highest peaks and the lush forests of the majestic High Uinta Wilderness serve as a backdrop for the Gorge. Start your visit at the Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center, one of the area's major attractions. Perched atop a cliff, the Center has huge windows and fenced outdoor platforms for viewing the Gorge and the surrounding desert landscape. Inside, you can learn about the ancient civilizations that inhabited the region's caves and ledges, and the more contemporary mountain men who made the area home. The Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway forms a loop road off Interstate 80 that enables you to circle the Reservoir.

Along the Byway, discover the Utah Field House of Natural History and Dinosaur National Monument, and allow time for a tour of the Flaming Gorge Dam. Nearby, Fossil Butte National Monument showcases some of the most incredible fossils in the world. A 7.5-mile scenic drive provides a view of Fossil Butte and the surrounding area. Wayside exhibits illustrate the subtropical environment in which creatures existed 50 million years ago. Firehole Canyon, located just south of nearby Rock Springs, delivers the spectacular sight of chimneys and pinnacles reflected in the river.

Stay: Hampton Inn Rock Springs (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 14
Steamboat Springs

Make your way to Steamboat Springs, a mountain resort in Colorado's Yampa Valley, to break up your journey to Rocky Mountains National Park. Travellers have visited Steamboat Springs since the early 1900s to enjoy its fishing and hunting opportunities, as well as the natural hot springs, but now the area is renowned for its excellent skiing facilities.

Stay: Quality Inn Steamboat Springs

Days 15-16
Rocky Mountain National Park

With more than 60 peaks rising over 12,000 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park delivers a true Rocky Mountain experience. A dozen magnificent alpine lakes feed the headwaters of the Colorado River – the same river that cut the Grand Canyon – and countless breathtaking views can be seen at almost every turn.

Before exploring by car, catch the Rocky Mountain National Park shuttle from Estes Park to familiarise yourself with key areas of the park. Starting at the Glacier Basin Campground you can pick up either the Bear Lake route or the Moraine Park route. Trail Ridge Road and Beaver Meadow Road, the two main scenic routes through the park, wind through 50 miles of forest and mountain landscapes. These incredibly scenic roads offer access to the diverse ecosystems that characterise the higher regions of the central Rocky Mountains, making them the principal attraction for many visitors. The meadows and rushing streams of the lower altitudes transform into sub-alpine forests at higher elevations. Scenic vistas and overlooks allow visitors to take in the park's awe-inspiring landscapes.

At Forest Canyon Overlook, take a five-minute stroll for a magnificent view of Forest Canyon, Hayden Gorge and Gorge Lakes. Standing on the Rook of the Rockies at Rock Cut and Rainbow Curb, you're more than two miles above sea level. At Milner Pass, Trail Ridge Road meets the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Take your time and savour the views

Stay: The Stanley (Superior)

Day 17
Denver

Make your way back to Denver. Having explored the city at the beginning of the holiday, we recommend you head for one of the city's many suburbs. The Santa Fe Arts District is packed with galleries, while Cherry Creek is known for having the best shopping and dining anywhere in Denver.

Drop your hire car off and board your overnight flight back to the UK.

Day 18
Arrive London

Arrive in London after your overnight flight and continue your onward journey home.

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

18-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,625 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £3,625 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £4,005 pp. incl. flights

Includes: 

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access  
  • Return international flights between London and Denver
  • 17 days Economy car hire
  • Personalised self-drive info pack
  • 16 nights in accommodation in a mixture of 3+ (Standard), 4* (Superior) & 5* (Deluxe) hotels on a room only basis

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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